Science Olympiad

Message From San Joaquin County Office of Education

Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous academic interscholastic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events for which students prepare during the year. The competitions follow the format of popular board games, TV shows and athletic games. These challenging and motivational events are well balanced between the various science disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers, and technology. There is a balance between events requiring knowledge of science facts, concepts, processes, skills, and science applications.


There are three levels of competition available to any San Joaquin County School, public or private: Division A for grades 3-6, Division B for grades 6-9, and Division C for grades 9-12.



Write It Do I

One student will write a description of an object and how to build it, and then the other student will attempt to construct the object from this description.

Reach for Stars

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the properties and evolution of stars and galaxies as well as their observation using different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum (e.g. Radio, Infrared, Visible, Ultraviolet, XRay and Gamma Ray).

Mousetrap Vehicle

Teams design, build and test one vehicle using one mousetrap as its sole means of propulsion to reach a target as quickly and accurately as possible.


Teams will complete a written test on simple and compound machine concepts and construct a lever-based measuring device prior to the tournament to determine the ratio between two masses.


Teams demonstrate their knowledge of ancient life by completing selected tasks at a series of stations including but not limited to fossil identification, answering questions about classification, habitat, ecologic relationships, behaviors, environmental adaptations and the use of fossils to date and correlate rock units.

Elastic Launched Glider

Prior to the tournament teams design, construct, and test elastic launched gliders to achieve the maximum time aloft.

Density Lab

Participants compete in activities and answer questions about mass, density, number density, area density, concentration, pressure and buoyancy


Teams will design and build a Boomilever meeting requirements specified in the rules supporting a minimum load and to achieve the highest structural efficiency.

Water Quality

Participants will be assessed on their understanding and evaluation of marine and estuary aquatic environments.

Ping Pong Parachute

Prior to the tournament, teams will design, build and bring up to two bottle rockets to the tournament to launch a ping pong ball attached to a parachute to stay aloft for the greatest amount of time.

Mission Possible

Prior to the competition, participants design, build, test and document a Rube Goldberg-like device that completes required Start and Final Actions through a series of specific actions.


y Participants will solve problems and analyze data or diagrams using their knowledge of the basic principles of genetics.

Food Science

Students will answer questions on food chemistry with a focus on fermentation and pickling. In addition, participants will build a salinometer/hydrometer capable of measuring salt compositions between 1-10% (mass/volume)

Dynamic Planet

Teams will complete tasks related to physical and geological oceanography.

Crime Busters

Given a scenario, a collection of evidence, and possible suspects, students will perform a series of tests that along with other evidence will be used to solve a crime.

Anatomy and Physiology

Participants will be assessed on their understanding of the anatomy and physiology for the human Skeletal, Muscular and Integumentary systems.

Road Scholar

Participants will answer interpretive questions that may use one or more state highway maps, USGS topographic maps, Internet-generated maps, a road atlas or satellite/aerial images.


Participants will be assessed on their knowledge of North American birds.


This event emphasizes understanding of basic meteorological principles with emphasis on analysis and interpretation of meteorological data, graphs, charts and images.

Game On

This event will determine a team's ability to design and build an original computer game using the program Scratch incorporating the scientific theme provided to them by the supervisor.

Experimental Design

This event will determine a participant's ability on-site to design, conduct and report the findings of an experiment.

Disease Detectives

Participants will use investigative skills in the scientific study of disease, injury, health and disability in populations or groups of people.

Circuit Lab

Participants must complete tasks and answer questions about electricity and magnetism.